LGBT Religion News Summary for February 22, 2012

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BREAKING: The Reverend Jane Spahr, a lesbian minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was found guilty of performing weddings for gay and lesbian couples in California in 2008.  She urged the denomination’s highest court on Friday to lift the censure placed on her due to her greater acceptance to the LGBT community, and in her wedding blessings in particular.  Her lawyers are arguing that nothing in church law bars ministers such as Spahr from performing LGBT wedding ceremonies.  In other Presbyterian news, out lesbian Katie Ricks was approved for ordination by New Hope Presbytery in Durham, North Carolina, last Saturday. The passage of an amendment in 2011 in the Presbyterian Book of Order made it possible for Ricks to be ordained. She is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary who has been serving as an associate in ministry at the Church of the Reconciliation, a welcoming and affirming church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The news of Proposition 8 in California and the marriage equality bills in various states has prompted closer looks at divides within different communities of color on LGBT issues.  Though the legal decision on Proposition 8 is far from being final, it has brought the gay marriage debate back into the forefront of the minds of California voters, including LGBT Latino activists such as Ari Gutíerrez .  As chairperson for the Latino Equality Alliance, Gutíerrez see this as a critical time to boost support for LGBT equality within her larger community.  According to the U.S. Census, more than 50 percent of Latinos are Catholic and are considered the movable middle when it comes to the institutions stance on marriage equality.  On MSNBC, Pastor Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, argues that the seeming divide over marriage equality in churches predominantly of African heritage is not a racial divide, but a divide in opinion of separation of church and state.

Finally, Minneapolis Area Lutherans voted overwhelmingly to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.Binary Data KHWV_H-bOVE

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